Stendhal by Jonathan Keates - review by Amanda Craig

Amanda Craig

In a Perpetual State of Amorous Engagement

Stendhal

By

Sinclair-Stevenson 384pp order from our bookshop
 

Readers wishing to improve their sex lives should immediately try the following from Stendhal's journals: Take one tarantula, and reduce to ashes. Mix with olive oil, and rub the resulting paste on the big toe of the right foot. A permanent erection follows.

Whether it worked for Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, Jonathan Keates's diverting and scandalous biography cannot tell us, but this fat, ugly, brilliant Frenchman certainly had as much luck with beautiful women (writing the dates and times of his conquests on his braces) as he did not with his

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